The Quota Carrying CMO

November 30th, 2009 by LoopFuse

There is an interesting shift happening in corporate America at the moment with regards to performance evaluation of marketing departments.  While I suspect that this shift may be global in nature, I have only personally witnessed it in the states and will therefore limit myself from over-reaching generalizations (seems almost quaint in the blogosphere today).

About 7 months ago I was discussing marketing automation tools in general, and LoopFuse in particular of course, with a marketing SVP and highlighting the different value propositions for the sales department versus the marketing department.  Given his role, I focused my discussion primarily within the marketing side of the equation, but he repeatedly kept redirecting the conversation towards the benefits for sales.  Initially I thought he was simply trying to identify any reservations or concerns that the sales VP might have by asking all of these sales-oriented questions.  But as the conversation progressed I learned that this marketing SVP’s personal bonus was not tied to the traditional measures of marketing success (brand awareness, lead volume, events, etc.) but instead was based almost entirely on revenue.

At the time I considered his company’s personal performance measurement approach to be interesting, but not particularly relevant.  One outlier is an anomaly, two is a coincidence, three is a pattern, and four is a trend.  As of today I have encountered my fourth marketing executive who is primarily rewarded based on the success or failure of the sales department.  At first, this approach seemed unfair to the marketing department.  But as I see this trend growing I realize that almost everyone is rewarded based partially on the success or failure of others, especially at the executive levels.    In this case the CMO is actually carrying the company’s global quota just like the sales executive.  One potentially positive aspect of this approach is that your sales and marketing departments may find that there is significantly less friction between them because their respective leadership’s goals are now perfectly aligned.

Are you a marketing VP?  Is your bonus compensation driven almost exclusively through revenue quotas?  Tell us how it has impacted yourself, your team, and your organization.

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